Premenstrual syndrome according to Chinese Medicine

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Premenstrual syndrome factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, premenstrual syndrome can be associated with two so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here premenstrual syndrome can be caused by two different patterns.

To understand whether someone's premenstrual syndrome might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from premenstrual syndrome alone. For instance when premenstrual syndrome is caused by the pattern Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen, patients also experience symptoms such as chest fullness, chest pain, anemia and dizziness. Similarly, patients with Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen typically exhibit empty (Xu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

We've listed below a description of the two patterns associated with premenstrual syndrome so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below two formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with premenstrual syndrome, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The two "patterns of disharmony" associated with premenstrual syndrome

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen

Premenstrual syndrome might be due to Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as chest fullness, chest pain, anemia and dizziness. Similarly, patients with Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen typically exhibit empty (Xu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Read more about Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen here

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Tight (Jin)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Normal (light red), Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Xiao Chai Hu Tang

Symptoms: Coughing Dizziness Headaches Depression Moving pain Listlessness Hypochondrium fullness

Premenstrual syndrome might be due to Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as coughing, hypochondrium fullness, dizziness and headaches. Similarly, patients with Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation typically exhibit empty (Xu) or tight (Jin) pulses as well as a normal (light red), pale tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation here

The two herbal formulas that might help with premenstrual syndrome

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with premenstrual syndrome?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen, a pattern sometimes associated with premenstrual syndrome. If it looks like you might suffer from Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

Xiao Chai Hu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Treats the Lesser Yang Channels (Gallbladder and Triple Warmer). Regulates the Liver and Spleen functions. Addresses combined Yin-Yang symptoms of External and Internal, Excess and Deficiency, and Hot and Cold.

Why might Xiao Chai Hu Tang help with premenstrual syndrome?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation, a pattern sometimes associated with premenstrual syndrome. If it looks like you might suffer from Lung Qi Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xiao Chai Hu Tang here

Most common herbs used to treat premenstrual syndrome in Chinese Medicine